The project is created for the 2018 Mental Health Week (May 14th — 20th). The duo of Noiresoul created “Outside-In” in the hope to document their own personal battle with wellness.
In ”Outside-in”, Noiresoul highlighted issues specific to the stress of university life, anxiety and the desire to fit in.
Read Noiresoul’s story below:
Photographs by — Karis Beaumont
‘You can’t be an academic and be a creative’ was the message I saw perpetuated through school, work and often those around me. Often, it wasn’t even said, but the looks and moments of silence I received when someone asked me what I had been up to, expecting to hear about coursework and exams or the latest episode of my favourite show but instead hearing my rambles of a new project I was planning and looking to execute said it all. ‘Will it make you money?’ 9 times out of 10 followed next, IF any further interest was even taken. The joys, passion and benefit it may have served myself or others was never enough to satisfy their stability-seeking, risk-adversing, self-image protecting selves.
I found myself having to justify my ideas and keep up appearances. Studying whilst creating whilst working whilst socialising. I say I needed to support myself financially but I think mentally these different pots allowed me to only serve what someone was looking for. ‘You still at uni?’ ‘yeah, finishing my Masters’. ‘You working yet?’ ‘yeah, started my grad job in July’. ‘We’re meeting up next week, you have to come!’ ‘ahh, not sure I can’ ‘No, we never see you, pleasee!’ ‘erm, ok can it be after the 24th?’
Whilst these things all tied to my bigger picture, they often became the picture. And the art I wanted to make had barely made it to the page. I was cloaking my reality. Putting their best out there, whilst feeling my worst.
I learnt to live in a bubble.
Never exposing too much but staying where my ideas were safe. Not imposing on anyone and not putting me out. I soon realized that to take the plunge I needed to sacrifice and I think that’s still my biggest hurdle to date. How do you stop being a ‘yes-guy’ without disappointing someone? Truth is, you can’t. But disappointing yourself, your vision, your purpose when it comes down to it will be the biggest disappointment of all.
Today, I vow to choose me. Choose life. My life and live it unapologetically.
I will not take on multiple jobs just to prove this path can make me money.
I will not feel the need to prove myself in conversation.
I will claim my work.
I will give my ideas air to breathe.
And if you do not like what I am serving, you do not have to eat.
How do you find an escape route when you’re drowning in your own thoughts? When anxiety takes over your rational thought process, how do you take control? These were a few struggles I had to deal with after dropping out of university. Don’t get me wrong it was the best decision I ever made, but I ended up being thrown into the deep end of life, a little earlier than expected. We’re all in education from the age of 4; education is all we know until we leave university or college. Being in education was a safety barrier for us; we had a fixed schedule and routine, familiarity. It’s a daunting transition when that safety barrier is abruptly broken down as soon as you receive that signed piece of paper we call ‘qualifications.’
During the much needed time of solitude, I started feeling guilty for spending time to sort myself out instead of creating. “You dropped out of uni to pursue your photography career. Look at what your creative peers are achieving, you’re slacking. You’re going to fall behind and fail,” anxiety used to scream to me every other day. Sometimes as artists, we neglect our personal needs to nourish our careers — but you can’t pour from an empty cup. I had to remind myself that I’m a young student of life. I need time to grow, to transition, to transcend. In order to create, we have to experience life’s lessons. Longevity is something I’m aiming for, so if that means me taking time out to realign myself, so be it. Keeping up with what’s ‘popping’ gets exhausting over time and I realised that you’ll be trying to keep up forever.
We need to remind ourselves that the content we create isn’t always solely for the consumption of others. We aren’t media outlets. Everyone is trying to sprint a 100m race instead of trying to endure a marathon.